It every driver's least favorite game: Dodge the Potholes.
The late winter freeze/thaw cycle has produced a bumper crop of potholes.
“It’s probably one of our worst years,” says Charles Sickler, Deputy Commissioner at the Erie County DPW.
Almost everyday, you'll find a county worker on patching patrol. The method of pothole repair is "Toss and Go." It's a widely used, accepted method. It's also extremely low-tech. A shovel-full (or two) of cold patch is tossed into the hole. It's smoothed with the back of a shovel and a trailing truck runs over it with its tires.
The method is fast and temporary. If there's rain or snow, the cold patch repair could be gone in days, sometimes less than that.
But there may be a better way: infrared technology.
A number of manufacturers, including Kasi out of New Hampshire, offer rigs that use infrared heating panels to pre-heat the pothole being fixed. The surrounding area is also heated. Warmed asphalt is toss in the hole, the entire area is raked and a roller flattens it out.
How good is the fix?
Tommy Grabowski, a paving contractor out of New Jersey says the repairs are permanent.
“The beauty of it is there’s no cold joint. You’re heating the road and existing pavement and creating a thermal bond," says Grabowski.
And Grabowski notes, there's no seem to the repair that might allow water to seep underneath and recreate the pothole.
Ohio's Transportation Department commissioned a 2014 study on winter pothole repair method. The research found "infrared patches are expected to last 14 times the expected life" of other meths tested. That included Toss and Go repairs.
But 2 On Your Side could not find any area highway or public works departments that use infrared.
Sickler has seen videos of infrared equipment at work. His biggest question is about the length of time for an infrared repair: 20 to 25 minutes. That means a single infrared truck might get to 24 potholes in a day.
Sickler points out, "Some of our longer stretches of roads, we probably have 100 to 200 potholes."
But Sicker was interested enough by our questions about to say he may need to re-explore this pothole fixing technology.